Sunday 07th June 11:58

Closing the Sale: the Benjamin Franklin Approach

closingthesale_142If you are responsible in your department or organisation for selling products, services, or ideas, then you'll almost certainly have come across potential customers who like what you're offering but, just at the point of agreeing, back off with "Let me think about it". Although some people use "let me think about it" genuinely, the majority use the expression because they're having cold feet. That's why you need to know how to respond to this phrase if you want to close the deal.

Cold Feet Are In Our Brains

Being unsure about committing ourselves to a major commitment is one of two things hardwired into our brains from birth. According to research, the fear of losing the safety of our footing and falling down is one of two fears we are born with, (the other is the fear of loud noises). So, it's no surprise that most people hesitate before stepping off safe ground and into the unknown.

The Benjamin Franklin Approach

So, how do you reassure people who say they want what you're offering but need to think it over? Well, one proven answer is, you use the Benjamin Franklin approach. Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers of the United States of America. He was not only a successful inventor, philosopher, and statesman; he was also a successful businessman. One of his favourite techniques for getting people to say "Yes" instead of "Let me think about it" was to do the following, which you can do as well, with just as good results...

1. Take out a piece of paper while telling the other person that you fully understand their fears.

2. Draw a line down the middle of the page and write "Yeses" (or a tick or a plus sign) at the top of the left-hand column. Now write "No's" (or a cross or minus sign) at the top of the right-hand column.

3. Now fill up the Yes column one by one with each of the reasons why your customer should buy, repeating the arguments used in your discussions. This list should run to around 7 items. For example, in the case of ManageTrainLearn products, the list could be:

i. Proven to deliver real business results
ii. Save time, money, and effort in research, preparation, and delivery
iii. Best value-for-money products in the market
iv. Authoritative, informative, and entertaining
v. Instantly available 24/7
vi. Customisable to users' own brand and needs
vii. Available on a range of platforms including PC, iPad and mobile markets.

4. When you have completed your best list of "Yeses", ask your customer to list the reasons why they would say "No" and jot them down under the right-hand column. Almost certainly, they will only be able to think of one or two which will probably have been covered in your list of "Yeses". When compared to your list of "Yeses", the list of "No's" will reassure them that there is little risk in going ahead.

Using This Technique Responsibly

This technique for closing a sales deal should only be used when you are sure that what you are offering genuinely meets your customers' needs and they are only pulling back because they need reassurance. As a result, your chances of closing the sale will skyrocket and both you and your customer will have made a good deal.